Indoor play centers are a child’s dream. They see ball pits, great heights to climb, and fun slides, but while kids are having fun, germs are lurking around. It is crucial for parents to know that these indoor playgrounds are clean and safe, as they may not return if their children become sick after a visit. To reduce cross-contamination and provide a safe environment for all customers, facility managers and business owners should ensure that their facilities are properly equipped and professionally serviced.
What can be done to keep young and grown-up customers happy and healthy?
Keep Hands Clean!
First and foremost, hand washing is the number one way for people to avoid becoming ill, as 80% of communicable diseases are spread by hand. So, make this task easy for concerned parents and impatient kids by having the right resources stocked and ready for use, and providing no-touch appliances to reduce cross-contamination.
Mount hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the play-space. Young individuals will especially like that it only takes 15 seconds for their hands to become sanitized, which is about as much time as they need to run from one activity to the next. An alcohol-free formula that is safe for compromised skin will be the healthiest option for all users, as it will not cause dryness and irritation. For times when hands are visibly dirty or greasy, or after bathroom breaks, soap and water are still necessary. Touch-free soap dispensers, faucets, and hand dryers or paper towel dispensers will streamline the hand washing process and give everyone the safe, clean hands they need.
All areas need to be cleaned due to all of the crawling, grabbing, pulling, and the direct contact children make with every surface within reach. The Health Departments of Minnesota and Arizona have laws that are specific to play places like these, not to mention a new Kids Play Safe certification available for establishments that offer these attractions. The certification details are simple and straightforward; businesses must clean the play areas after each eight-hour shift, uphold the safety requirements of the children’s apparatuses, and use environmentally safe cleaning products.
Thorough cleanings are usually performed after closing for the day, but it is important to maintain cleanliness throughout operating hours as well. Some commonly touched surfaces include:
- The inside of tubes meant for crawling
- Monkey bars
- Rope swings
- Floor mats
Many different kinds of pathogens and viruses can live on hard surfaces for as long as 24 hours, but may only need a couple of hours to spread. Bacteria that have been found at indoor play centers include:
- Bacillus cereus
- Staphylococcus aureus
Pathogens like these can cause skin irritation, vomiting, and even meningitis. Keeping surface sanitizing wipes throughout the facility will make periodic sanitizing convenient and simple. Wipes must be capable of killing pathogens like those listed; however, if they are formulated with harsh chemicals they may irritate children, so bleach- and alcohol-free solutions are a safer option.
Play areas are not the only ones that need to be sanitary, as many indoor playgrounds also host birthday parties and serve food. Tables, chairs, and other high-touch points like doors and walls need to be kept clean and safe, so having a dispenser of surface sanitizer and paper towels available in each event room will make cleaning convenient and help staff keep up with their guests. An antimicrobial sanitizer that meets OSHA bloodborne pathogen requirements and is approved for repeated use in food service is a smart, all-purpose option for cleaning any hard surface.
Parents will need to bring along their toddlers and infants while the older children play. In order for these facilities to be completely family-friendly, especially the ones that offer play areas for the youngest of customers, baby-changing tables and child safety seats should be included in the restrooms. A diaper-changing table allows parents to easily take care of infants while toddlers securely held in the child safety seat. Mothers and fathers are able focus on changing diapers without the extra stress of loose toddlers running around and possibly becoming hurt.
Keeping facilities hygienic and healthy all day will give parents reassurance and confidence in your business. Consider including regularly scheduled hygiene services into your cleaning program to help your staff better focus on other responsibilities, while keeping your customers will be happy!